Monday, December 26, 2011

Day(s) of Rest

I jammed allot of text into the last few weeks so we could start Matthew on Christmas day.  Let's take a couple days off to rest and/or catch up.  We'll resume on Friday, December 30th, 2011.

Happy Boxing Day!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Gospel of Matthew 1-2 - A New Hope

Matthew 1-2

We start the New Testament (NT) with the Gospel of Matthew.  This book seems to be a 'cliff notes' of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, a Jew born of a virgin mother, baptized by John the Baptist who then considers himself to be the son of the God of Moses.

I have to admit that the book didn't start out well for me.  A long list of begats is no way to draw in the reader.  And the end result is ultimately irrelevant!  So what if Joseph is a decedent of Abraham?  He has no blood ties to Jesus and is fairly unnecessary to the story other then to add a small amount of drama.  We should have gotten MARY'S lineage!

The Holy Ghost impregnates a teenager before her betrothed gets a chance.  Joseph is not happy but plays along.

Once Mary gets pregnant, the story kicks off and it's quite a tale.  Wise men on a quest, a jealous king, a family on the run.  We're off to an exciting start!
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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all, and Happy Holidays to the cranky folk that are offended by Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Book of Malachi - We're Freakin' Done with the Old Testament!!!

Malachi 1-4

Malachi is the last of the minor prophets as well as being the last book in the King James Old Testament.

He isn't any more pleasant then the previous 11 minor prophets and is actually fairly graphic in his descriptions of God's wrath.

2:3 Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.

God (actually, the priests in charge) demands money and food;
3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
3:9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

We finish up with the command to remember the laws of Moses.  I know that there is some disagreement on wether or not Jesus tells followers to obey the old laws or to forget them.  I hope we'll find out in the next book!
4:4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD

We finally make it to the end of the Old Testament.  I wish I had some profound words but it's more like feeling exhausted when you cross the finish line in a race, you're just glad it's over.

Having read the Gospel of Matthew before, I know it's a MUCH more pleasant book and a lot of positive messages for the reader. :-)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Book of Zechariah, ...saith the LORD of hosts

Zechariah 1-14

Damn, one more longish book.  Can you guess what it's about?

I love this line;

1:15 And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction.

Can you believe that there is reference to Santa n the Holy Bible? It's true!  Zechariah prophesied Santa Claus over a thousand years before he came to be.  You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried!

2:6 Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north...

And the fact that it comes up in our reading JUST BEFORE CHRISTMAS?!?!  There is no way that is a coincidence!

Zechariah eats peyote and writes several more chapters on his visits with angels, God, Joshua, The BRANCH and a flying roll. They all have something profound to say.

Chapter 8 gives us some nice, encouraging words fro God.  He gets sentimental after a few beers;

8:3 Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain.
8:4 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age.

8:5 And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.

This is an odd prophesy.  Anyone know who the ten men are supposed to be?

8:22 Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.

8:23 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.

God admits he's punishing the innocent;

10:3 Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats

Once again the future is foretold!

14:12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.

The last part of Zechariah is apocalypse, end of the world stuff but it falls pretty flat in my eyes.  

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Book of Haggai, Be strong, all ye people of the land

Haggai 1-2

I was a little confused by the first part of chapter 1.  It seemed that God was pleased with 'the people', but then he wasn't.  He didn't seem to like the house they built?  And he blew them down?  Hmmm.

Haggai/God does revisit some rather obscure laws;

2:11 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying,
2:12 If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No.
2:13 Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean.
He seems to use them as metaphors.  Nice work.

Still the LORD doesn't quite get it.
2:17 I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labours of your hands; yet ye turned not to me, saith the LORD

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Book of Zephaniah, Woe to her that is filthy and polluted

Zephaniah 1-3

Zep gets right down to it.  Death and destruction from the word go!

He goes after a large number of people, probably the largest group threatened by a single prophet.

At the end, he lets up on the threats to let the people know that they can be saved if they submit to God's will.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Will the World End in 2012?

We're one year away from the end of the Mayan calendar.   The minor prophets are giving us some proto-revelations doom and gloom.  Political upheaval and economic turmoil are constant headlines.

The end of the world is being shoved in our face.

So, what do you think?  Is mankind about to be an endangered species?  Did the ancients see it coming and try to warn us?  Will a supernatural being take us out? Will nature impose itself on us?  Are humans dumb enough to take themselves out?

Vote in the latest poll and leave a comment here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Book of Habakkuk

Habakkuk 1-3

What can you say about Habakkuk that hasn't already been said?
Here are some personal highlights;

2:7 Shall they not rise up suddenly that shall bite thee...

Biblical Raunch!
2:15 Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!

2:16 Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the LORD's right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing shall be on thy glory.

Chapter 3 lets us know that even though God may be violent and vengeful, Habakkuk has faith that the LORD will eventually become kind and gentle.

Fig trees once again get picked on.  Doesn't Jesus kill a fig tree also?

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Book of Nahum

Nahum 1-3

The only interesting thing about this short book is that it involves the proposed fate of the city of Nineveh, the same city that Jonah was charged with saving.  I'm guessing this is the violence that God was promising before Jonah showed up.  Good thing the folks of Nineveh had a change of heart.

My only question would be, did God have Nahum standing by as his back up prophet in case Jonah's whale conversion didn't take?
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Book of Micah

Micah 1-7

Same old Doom and gloom.  Absolutely nothing new here.

Book of Jonah

Jonah 1-4

The ultimate fish story.  But what a poorly thought out one.  I didn't like the ridiculous means used to finally get Jonah to Nineveh.  See Idiot Plot
On the bright side, God is happy with the results and doesn't kill anyone. This makes Jonah sad.

God calls Jonah to be a prophet but Jonah has a very human reaction.  He freaks out and runs away and jumps on a ship!
The LORD has ways to deal with deserters though.  God  creates a mighty storm and Jonah does the noble thing and has himself thrown overboard to save others from a wicked storm.  Right into the mouth of a whale.  Like Jesus, it takes him three days to return to the world.

Once out of the 'fish', Jonah goes to Nineveh, preaches about the city's destruction in 40 days and to his surprise, everyone from the king to the peasants listen to him!  God puts the pin back in his holy hand grenade.  But, Jonah seems disappointed.  Why?

On the bright side, this little girl does a perfect job of telling the story!

I want her to do the entire bible!!!

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Ideas for Charitable Donations

Below are a few suggestions for giving to those in need this season.  I'm sorry for the awkward presentation, I couldn't figure out a way to convert a Keynote document so that it was web friendly.
Some of these ideas are Chicago-centric and time sensitive but hopefully they will give you some ideas.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

"Book" of Obadiah, Thou shouldest not have...

Obadiah 1

God be praised for Obadiah's brevity!

1:1 ...Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle.

George W Bush and friends started the Iraq war for the same reason.  If a rumor is good enough for God... ;-)

God is still in the revenge game.

15 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.

Otherwise, the same fire, destruction and invasion we're used to.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Book of Amos, I will send a fire

Amos 1-9
Amos continues God's rant against everyone that has done him wrong.  Get it all out LORD, you don't want to have a stroke.

Amos does give us a theme to make the reading easier.

Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of <insert evil people here>, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because <fill in transgression here>...
But I will send a fire upon <insert transgressor here>...

This one line is the smoking gun I've been looking for.
3:2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.
Ever since the story of Noah, I've wondered why God seems to be stalking and terrorizing a very small, specific group of people.  After all the VAST majority of the world's population could care less about this god, most have never heard of him.  He only has power to hurt you if you believe he exists.
As people left to start out on their own, why didn't God smite the hell out of them as a lesson?
I truly would love to hear an answer.

Chapter 4 just highlights how clueless God is when he wonders why his people no longer worship him, even after he's starved them, killed their young men and brought drought and floods to the land.

Still, Amos/God continue spewing the same doom and gloom as the others have.

The last part of the book gives us Amos' origin story.  He is warned not to go into the prophet biz but God insists.

God uses props to help Amos understand.  A plumbline and basket of fruit.

He also will cause a famine of himself.
8:11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
8:12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.

I'm guessing that if Israel doesn't care about him now, having him disappear isn't going to bother them much.  They'd probably enjoy a reprieve from the killing.

We end the book with God again promising to destroy all but a few of his special people.
He then makes a promise, that Israel "shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them". 
Only took him 2500 years to keep that promise and even now, Israel is under constant threat from it's neighbors.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Book of Joel

Book of Joel 1-3
The book of Joel seems to be all over the place.  He covers a lot of ground in three short chapters. If only the previous prophets were so kind...
Still, I'm REALLY bored with this repetitive shit.

First, Joel gives us the standard doom and gloom (The end of the world is nigh, but if you repent...).  He's very unhappy about the drought, wether real or metaphorical.

He then slowly changes the tone to one of the LORD loving his people and promising to be nice to them and give them the bounties they deserve.  "I'm coming back to you, and then we'll all eat ice cream and cake!'
I always get a kick out of this line which is repeated in various ways throughout the Old Testament;

2:13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

We finish with Joel not quite understanding what has happened to the people of Israel.  He seems to think that other nations came in of their own accord and ransacked the land, scattering the people and their wealth.
3:4 Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? will ye render me a recompence? and if ye recompense me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head;
3:5 Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things:

3:6 The children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border.

Silly man.  That was all Gods doing.  He destroyed Israel and sold his own people to other nations because of their disobedience.  God must be pissed that Joel didn't give him full credit.

God will get his revenge on the people that took HIS people captive.
3:8 And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off: for the LORD hath spoken it.

Remember, he hasn't yet changed the rules to "Turn the other cheek" and "Forgive those that trespass against us"

Funny, the shorter the book, the more I write about it. :-)

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Why it's not "Just a Theory"

Let's take a quick break from the doom and gloom of the Old Testament prophets for a positive story about education.  Ricky Line, The Superintendent Of The Hart County Board Of Education in Kentucky wrote a letter to Kentucky Board of Education, telling them that he was taking a stand against the teaching of evolution because it was 'just a theory'.  His full letter and attachements can be found here.

Terry Holliday, from the Kentucky Board of Education sent him a reply that explains Science and Scientific Theory in very easy to understand language.  I think it's one of the best explanations I've seen.

The bottom line is that SCIENCE should be taught in SCIENCE classes and not religious belief.
If creationist/intelligent design proponents want their beliefs taught in public schools they will need to use the scientific method and present evidence.

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Book of Hosea, Like a silly dove without heart

Book of Hosea 1-14

Hosea gives us a rather long winded parable on the Israel's fall from grace.  We've heard it all before in the same style (including Israel portrayed as a whorish woman).  At least it's a pretty easy read.

God tells Hosea to marry tainted women and then buy a woman and have an affair with her.
The old "God told me to!" excuse.  Timeless.

There is really nothing of note in this book other then God's disappointment with his chosen people and the brutal way he deals with it.

Ultimately, god will forgive them and take them back.
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Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Post Ezekiel Aperitif

I meant to post these at the beginning of the book but forgot.  Enjoy.

Journey - Wheel in the Sky

Husker Du - Books about UFOs

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Book of Daniel

Daniel 1-12

The book of Daniel is all about dreams and their interpretations.  This post is about as confused as his prophesies.

Daniel and some friends are made slaves of Nebuchadnezzar and have their names changed.
Slave Daniel asks God to save his hide by helping him interput Nebuchadnezzar's bad dream.

Daniel's interpretation is convoluted and a pretty generic answer, sort of like today's psychics.

Even so, the king is so impressed that he worships the jewish god and makes Daniel a ruler;

2:46 Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him.
2:47 The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.

But in the next chapter ol' Nebu gets mad because the Jews won't worship his god and idol 
and throws them into a burning, fiery furnace, but they are unscathed!!!  And to top it off, the Son of God is walking around in the furnace with them!

3:25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

What else could the king do but convert to Judaism.  Again.

3:29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

But, God causes Nebbie to go nuts and lives like a wild animal in the woods for (a year?  Not really sure on the exact timeframe) before returning to the throne.  You think this would have been mentioned somewhere else other then the Bible but I can't find it.

Daniel repeats his dream interpretation act almost to the letter with king Belshazzar and is again rewarded.  But that doesn't stop him from being thrown to the lions by Belshazzar's confederates.

6:10-24 is the story of Daniel in the lions den.  Once again I'm shocked that such a quick story has gained such notoriety, even outside the christian community.  The gruesome end of the guilty parties (and their families) is never mentioned of course. 

The dreams and interpretations continue thru-out the book.  Daniel meets several angels.
As per Daniels first predication, a string of kings comes and goes.  Nebuchadnezzar even writes a chapter!

The second half of the book turns grim and we get some proto revelations.  End of the world stuff.
It goes into great detail on the happenings but it's still middle-east centric, which is odd because the world is so much bigger now.
When reading it, I got the feeling that the author thought the end times would occur with-in his lifetime, but Daniel is ultimately noncommittal as to when God will put and end to his failed experiment.

All we know is that there will be zombies!!!

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Book of Ezekiel 44-48

Ezekiel 44-48
The last big book of the Old Testament comes to an end.  Thank Jebus!

God shows Ezekiel around the new, improved temple and then says "You'll have to use the servants entrance."

Who's this prince their talking about?

The Levites get demoted from priests to usher.  I'm surprised God let's them participate at all!
God then gives us a rehash of the rules of the game*.  It's good that he's focusing on the important stuff like justice, kindness and helping others in need.  Oh... wait.

God hates wool and sweat!

44:17 And it shall come to pass, that when they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments; and no wool shall come upon them, whiles they minister in the gates of the inner court, and within.

44:18 They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads, and shall have linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird themselves with any thing that causeth sweat.

Wool is naturally fire retardent so God didn't want to have his priests wearing anything that would protect them if he felt the need to spontaneously combust them for an infraction, ala Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu.

God gives really shitty gifts;

44:28 And it shall be unto them for an inheritance: I am their inheritance: and ye shall give them no possession in Israel: I am their possession.

God then parcel out land, gives more measurements and tells us how to kill and prepare his meals.

Chapter 47 tells us that there is a leaky pipe in the temple.  The robot with the tape measure is worthless when it comes to repairs.

And the exciting conclusion to the Book of Ezekiel?  God redistributes land to the tribes. What a lame way to end a book!  Jeez.

*Great movie.  Rent it if you get a chance.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Book of Ezekiel 39-43 Bender's lame cousin Measurer

Ezekiel 39-43

More Gog bashing.  They have so many weapons that it'll take seven years to destroy them all!
And the Israelites are going to be burying bodies for seven months!
God must like the Gog (he/them/it) more than his 'chosen people' because the Gog get buried.  Lately, when God has had his own people murdered he just leaves their bodies out to rot and get eaten by the animals.
God hasn't yet come up with idea of turning the other cheek and the doing unto others slogan;

39:10 ... and they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them, saith the Lord GOD.

Chapter 40-42 is officially the lamest part in the bible.  Ezekiel eats some peyote and meets a robot that measures things!  I kept reading, waiting for something interesting to happen but it never did.  You thought the description for the original temple was boring?  Ha!  I give you permission to skip this shit.  
There is an important aspect to this chapter though.  The prophesy of the man with the shiny metal ass would be fulfilled in 1999.

Things get a little better in chapter 43 when God shows up in person to give more details on the house.
He points out, like Monty Hall, that Israel can own this house for the low, low price of their obedience and subjugation.  He also wants them to start cooking for the LORD again.

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Book of Ezekiel 34-38 Gog Damn It!

Ezekiel 34-38

Well fancy that, we find another 'prediction' of Jesus' coming;
34:23 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.

34:24 And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it.

In 35, God plans to kill off the Edomites on Mount Sier.  "I can't destroy Babylon, Egypt or the Assyrians but there is this smaller group up in the mountains I can probably take!"  God suddenly seems very small and impotent.

Chapter 36 tells us the good that God is going to do isn't for the benefit of the Israelis but for his great name.  Vanity, thy name is the LORD!
36:22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.

36:23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD

Chapter 38 brings us Gog.  They are the usual threat against Israel and God's gonna cause a lot of shit to go down.  End of Days type stuff.  Literally.  Everyone, even the birds and bees are going to be afraid.  This is done so God can "magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD."  
Yeah, they'll know he's the LORD but everyone will hate him!  Time for some anger management!

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Book of Ezekiel 29-33 More stuff that didn't happen

Ezekiel 29-33

I know we're not supposed to take these writings literally, but I find it annoying that God/Ezekiel continue to claim credit for the works of others.  Nebuchadrezzar, the king of Babylon will destroy Egypt and spread it's people around, same thing that happened to the people of Judea and Israel.  I'm sure Nebuchadrezzar had no intention of doing this until God put it into his head.  Right.  I don't expect the Bible to talk about the good stuff that he did during his reign but at least give him credit for the warring.

Chapter 29 has Egypt becoming a barren wasteland for 40 years (what was with these people and the numbers 40 and 7?).

29:8 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring a sword upon thee, and cut off man and beast out of thee.
29:9 And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste; and they shall know that I am the LORD: because he hath said, The river is mine, and I have made it.

29:10 Behold, therefore I am against thee, and against thy rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from the tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia.
29:11 No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years.

Didn't seem to have happened.  According to history anyway.  Sort of like the exodus.

I also find it VERY funny that "the LORD" has Babylon invade Egypt;
30:25 But I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, and the arms of Pharaoh shall fall down; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall put my sword into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall stretch it out upon the land of Egypt.

I'm guessing "the LORD" was the last thing on their minds during the war.
I don't think there are accounts of Nebuchadrezzar saying "I'm a peaceful man.  Why am I invading Egypt?!?!  Who is making me do this?  The LORD?!?!  :-)

Chapters 31-32 are repetitive.  Why am I surprised?

In Chapter 33 God tells Ezekiel that the people or "the watchman" will be the ones to blame when God starts killing people if they don't take heed.  God has to kill so he's not responsible.  I believe this is a repeat of an earlier writing.

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Book of Ezekiel 26-29

Ezekiel 26-29

More ranting about the same ol' thing.

As an aside, the Skeptics Annotated Bible has some interesting side bars on the prophesies that didn't quite come true.  I usually read the SAB with a skeptical eye since it's EXTREMELY biased, but the parts they pointed out are pretty obvious errors.

4 more days of Ezekial and then we get to the quickie one day books of the OT before Jesus shows up!
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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book of Ezekiel 23-25 The Tarantino Version is Better

Ezekiel 23-25

Chapter 23 has one of the creepiest parables in the entire bible.  That's some serious misogynistic thinking.

Chapter 24 is just more angry god spew.

And then there is chapter 25!  One of the most googled chapters in the entire bible.
Why?  Because Quentin Tarantino used 25:17 in the classic movie Pulp Fiction.  Tarantino actually did a huge rewrite on the actual line;

25:17 And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them.

The line in the movie is much longer;
The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.

The clip below is of course not even remotely safe for work or more sensitive readers.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Book of Ezekiel 20-22

Ezekiel 20-22

You know the routine.
God's pissed and we're all gonna die.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Book of Ezekiel 16-19 Cause Jerusalem to know her abominations

Ezekiel 16-19

Ezekiel goes to the old standby of using the harlot as a symbol for Israel.  He seems to go into greater detail than the other prophets and calls out "her" indiscretions.

God gives Ezekiel a "riddle"/parable in chapter 17.  Evidently God had to keep simple as Ezekiel had the inteelegance of a third grader.

He then critiques a proverb in chapter 18.  I think it's just sour grapes.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Book of Ezekiel 11-15 When will this end?

Ezekiel 11-15

God needs to change his tactics after the mass killings failed to convince the Israelites that he is a kind and loving god.

11:18 And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence.

11:19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:

11:20 That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.

Perhaps he should have 'put a new spirit within them, take the stony heart out of their flesh and give them an heart of flesh' in the first place.  ;-)

Chapter 13 again brings up my favorite theme that turns up in all books of the prophets.  That the other prophets are false and that you should only believe me!

13:2 Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD
13:6 They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word.

Other than that, it's the same old shit.  Angry god, rebellious people, promises of wholesale slaughter.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Book of Ezekiel 6-10 they shall know that I am the LORD

Ezekeil 6-10

This pretty much summarizes the entire Old Testament in a few sentences;

6:7 And the slain shall fall in the midst of you, and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
6:8 Yet will I leave a remnant, that ye may have some that shall escape the sword among the nations, when ye shall be scattered through the countries.
6:10 And they shall know that I am the LORD, and that I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them.

God makes a rare personal appearance in Chapter 8.  He seems to appear in front of a group of people other then a lone, crazy prophet.
8:1 And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in mine house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD fell there upon me.
8:2 Then I beheld, and lo a likeness as the appearance of fire: from the appearance of his loins even downward, fire; and from his loins even upward, as the appearance of brightness, as the colour of amber.

Ezekiel gets a tour of the temple filled with the ancients that have done wrong in the eyes of the LORD.

He then (dreams/imagines) that God sends out men to slaughter the masses.  Those who accept God's laws are given a mark and spared.

Chapter 10 rehashes chapter 1 except the face of the Ox is replaced by a face of a Cherub.

All in all, were falling back into the same storyline as the other prophets.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Book of Ezekiel 1-5 baking it in their sight on human dung

Ezekiel 1-5

OMFG!  Are you kidding me?!?! Another prophet reporting on the exile and the fall of Jerusalem?
This is proof that there is a god and that he hates me.

The bright note about Ezekiel (the beginning of the book anyway) is that it merges two groups that believe in far-fetched ideas, UFO enthusiasts and the religious.

The LORD asks much of Ezekiel. Laying on a brick for almost 400 days sounds like a cushy job but it's got to be boring as hell and on top of that he's on a bread and water diet.
Speaking of which, God seems to have invented multi-grain bread. But don't go looking for it. The LORD is going to starve one third of the people to death for their sins against him.
He also plans to kill another third thru pestilence and terrorize the remaining third with the swords of Israel's enemies

Even though Ezekiel's writing is better, he still have the same "you guys suck" message as Jeremiah.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Book of Lamentations

After a long break due to an insane work schedule consisting of coast to cost travel with points in between, I bring you Lamentations, a short book from Jeremiah (?) consisting of mostly whining and a real downer.  Sounds like Jeremiah to me.

Chapter 2 once more brings up the idea (or truth, since this is the inspired word of god) that prophets are phony.  What does that say about Isaiah, Jeremiah and the others?

Chapter 4 is really depressing.  Innocent dead children tend to be that way.

Chapter 5 gives us a nice recap of the last few books.

We screwed up.
God is mad at us for screwing up.
We lost everything because we screwed up.
If we stop screwing up God will be nice to us again.

Did I miss anything?

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Book of Jeremiah 46-52

Jeremiah 46-52

I'm really busy this weekend so I'm posting the remainder of the Jeremiah readings. We'll start with Lamentations on Monday

I wish I had more time to write about the last part of Jeremiah because it's damn good reading! It took a LONG time to get here, but the war, mayhem and murder are epic.
Jeremiah/God go after everyone who pissed off any part of Israel.
The movie The Godfather once again comes to mind with the classic ending of Michael settling all scores against the family.

God I wish this were the end of the Old Testament.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Book of Nephi ...and it came to pass

I thought we'd take a field trip today and visit The Book of Mormon.
Why?  Because it starts with the First Book of Nephi and takes place at the same time as the Book of Jeremiah.

Nephi's father was Lehi, a prophet in Jerusalem and they witnessed the fall to Babylon.  Like Jeremiah, he was disliked by the jewish population for telling them that God hated what they have become.

But, unlike Jeremiah they hauled ass out of Jerusalem and into the wilderness.

No need to go deeper then the first few chapters unless you want to count the insanely repetitive phrase
"And it came to pass".   It's used so much it becomes a comedic element.  Joseph Smith was in desperate need of a thesaurus!

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Book of Jeremiah 41-45 But they hearkened not

Jeremiah 41-45

Now, where were we?
The chase is on.

Chapter 41 reads like the police beat section of the local paper.

41:17 mentions Bethlehem.  An obvious prophecy about Jesus.

The start of chapter 42 made me laugh!

42:2 And said unto Jeremiah the prophet, Let, we beseech thee, our supplication be accepted before thee, and pray for us unto the LORD thy God, even for all this remnant; (for we are left but a few of many, as thine eyes do behold us:)

42:3 That the LORD thy God may shew us the way wherein we may walk, and the thing that we may do.

I think the LORD has made his wishes quite clear over the last few hundred years!  This is a dense group of people.  They decide that Jeremiah is lying to them and they head off to Egypt to escape the invading horde.  God will be disappointed in them I'm sure.

Chapter 44 has God/Jeremiah going on and on and on about punishing those that went to Egypt. We get it, they'll die by the sword and b the famine. That'll teach them for burning incense to the wrong god.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Book of Jeremiah 37-40 So Jeremiah sunk in the mire

Jeremiah 37-40

We finally get to the good stuff!!!
Egypt and the Chaldeans duke it out in Jerusalem.
Jeremiah runs away to Benjamin but is thrown in jail for being a pompous dick.  Again.

Is this a new prison term for Jeremiah or is this just Quentin Tarantino style of writing?

Jeremiah gets stuck in the mud and has to be pulled out by ropes!!!  LOL!
Is this what the OT has come to?  The hell and brimstone has devolved into cranky prophets stuck in the med.

Zedekiah asks for jeremiah to give it to him straight.  Jeremiah lays out the kings options

Jerusalem falls to Babylon after two years of battle.  Zedekiah flees with family but is caught.  The Chaldeans decimate Jerusalem.
39:4 And it came to pass, that when Zedekiah the king of Judah saw them, and all the men of war, then they fled, and went forth out of the city by night, by the way of the king's garden, by the gate betwixt the two walls: and he went out the way of the plain.

39:5 But the Chaldeans' army pursued after them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho: and when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he gave judgment upon him.
39:6 Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah in Riblah before his eyes: also the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah.

Sounds exactly like Muammar Gaddafi and his family.  The more things change...

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Book of Jeremiah 34-36

Jeremiah 34-36

Second verse same as the first.  More repetition on Judah falling to Babylon.

My question is, how often is Jeremiah coming up with these predications?

I did like the drama in the last half of chapter 36.  Lesson;  You don't burn a man's leaves and get away with it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Book of Jeremiah 30-33

Book of Jeremiah 30-33

Seems like God is admitting failure and looking to start over with the Israelites.

31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
31:34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

If they come back to him, he'll forget all the sinning and move forward.

The LORD then over sees the purchase of land.  With the Israelites forsaking him and not feeding him his savory meats, he had to get a second job to put food on his plate. ;-)
32:14 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days.

32:15 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land.

The end result is that Jeremiah (?) owns some of the promised land.   But how does he buy the land if he's in jail?  Where did he get the gold?  

God has visions of a wonderful future, like he did when he started down this path with Abraham, but the reality of the situation will be much different.
32:37 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:

32:38 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God:

32:39 And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:

32:40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book of Jeremiah 27-29 The Yokes on You (or, God Hates Figs)

Jeremiah 27-29

Chapter 27 is ridiculously redundant to all the previous chapters.  29 is not much better.

Chapter 28 on the other hand gives us rival prophets!  Prophet Hananiah comes to spread the good word. Babylon is gonna be toast and God will be be restored to his rightful place in the eyes of his chosen people.

28:10 Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke from off the prophet Jeremiah's neck, and brake it.
28:11 And Hananiah spake in the presence of all the people, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years. And the prophet Jeremiah went his way.

Was Jeremiah really wearing a yoke?!?!

Jeremiah says 'Nope.  God is going to make you folks suffer.  And Hananiah, your a dead man'
28:15 Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The LORD hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie.
28:16 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the LORD.
28:17 So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month.

Actual Bible Quote of the Week!

29:17 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will send upon them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, and will make them like vile figs, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil.

The Israelites are used to the sword, the famine and the pestilence so God sends them a bad fruit basket from Harry and David.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Book of Jeremiah 24-26 the residue of Jerusalem

Jeremiah 24-26

WOW!  We start off with prophet Jeremiah foretelling two future prophets.

24:1 The LORD shewed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the LORD, after that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon.
24:2 One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe: and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad.

This is an obvious reference to Jesus (the carpenter and good fig) and Joseph Smith (the Mormon prophet and bad fig).  ;-)

Chapter 25 shows God once again being unjust. OK, maybe he wasn't really unjust, just mean.
25:11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
25:12 And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.

He sends the people of Judah off to Babylon as punishment for not obeying him, and then, he punish the next generation of Babylon for subjugating  the people of Judah.  Once again I feel like I've got to be reading this wrong.  Can God be such a hypocritical jerk?

So, God commands Jeremiah to take the "Wine Cup of Fury" and make all nations drink from it!
25:15 For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it.
25:16 And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them.
25:27 Therefore thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you.
25:28 And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ye shall certainly drink.

Again, if these good folks aren't interested in obeying a god that wants them dead, why would they want to drink from his deadly cup?!?!

Regardless, we get word of a great slaughter directly from God's mouth.  He promises to lay waste to the evil men.

 How much do you want to bet he backs off?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Book of Jeremiah 20-23

Jeremiah 20-23

Jeremiah gets nabbed by Pashur and thrown in the clink but that doesn't stop Jeremiah from predicting the worst for his captor.

He pulls a George Bailey and wishes he was never born.

Chapter 21 has God/Jeremiah commanding the people of Judah to surrender and become slaves to Babylon or die.  I guess following God's law is no longer an option.

Parts of chapter 22 confuses me a bit.

22:8 And many nations shall pass by this city, and they shall say every man to his neighbour, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this great city?

22:9 Then they shall answer, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD their God, and worshipped other gods, and served them.

All the 'other nations' most likely don't believe in the LORD of the Israelites so they wouldn't say "look at what God did".  They would most likely say "Those foolish people put their faith in a false god that couldn't protect them and now they are our slaves".  I know were reading this from a perpective of the oppressed but, really.

I also find this rather funny;
22:13 Woe unto him buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbour's service without wages, and giveth him not for his work

God makes his people the slaves of others (on several occasions) but then admonishes those that use slaves.   Can someone explain this to me?

Chapter 23 repeatedly has Jeremiah saying the LORD is against those lying prophets.

Pot and Kettle Jeremiah!!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

God’s Sovereignty (Audio Lecture)

Commenter Adam gave me this link while discussing a previos post Why Does God Get Mad?
It's a class (audio only) from Dr. R.C. Sproul on God's ability to save mankind.  Why does he save some and not others?  From the site;
"Does God have the ability to save everyone? If He does, then why didn’t He? Has God placed limits on His sovereignty in man’s salvation?"

Renewing Your Mind Lecture from Dr. Sproul  (I tried to imbed the lecture but it wouldn't take)

I found the lecture pretty interesting but rather unsatisfying .  He asks a lot of questions and lays it out well but ultimately doesn't give an answer.  And I really didn't get a sense of what God's sense of justice is supposed to be.  The doctor does say at one point he doesn't know and I guess that means we CAN"T know.
Perhaps in a follow up lecture we'll find out more.

Listen if you have 20 minutes and let me know what you think.
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Book of Jeremiah 16-18

Jeremiah 16-18

God starts off with a friendly warning to Jeremiah;

6:2 Thou shalt not take thee a wife, neither shalt thou have sons or daughters in this place.
Why?  Because he's going to cause the deaths of every man, woman and child in the neighborhood.

16:4 They shall die of grievous deaths; they shall not be lamented; neither shall they be buried; but they shall be as dung upon the face of the earth:and they shall be consumed by the sword, and by famine; and their carcases shall be meat for the fowls of heaven, and for the beasts of the earth.

Once again this loving god is going to kill innocent women and children and let their bodies be eaten by wild animals because their fathers have forsaken him.
I can understand when God ignores the people that stop worshiping him, but to actively seek out and kill them (especially the women and children) is unacceptable.
His stated reason is a show of power and ego.

16:21 Therefore, behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know mine hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is The LORD.

Great writing here!
17:1 The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars;

The last part of chapter 17 seems to indicate that God will revitalize Jerusalem if his people will just observe the sabbath and take the day off!  Sounds like an easy enough task!

Jeremiah gets really paranoid in chapter 18, like most of the previous prophets.  His dementia can't be total if he suspects that others will think he's making all this stuff up.  After all God himself said that prophets are liars!

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Why does God get mad?

Stupid question;
If God knows all.  If God has written history from the beginning of time until the end of time, why does he get so angry when man screws up?  He already knows that they're going to disappoint him and turn away from him repeatedly.  He made them that way.

Just wondering, so enlighten me!

Book of Jeremiah 13-15 Dirty Girdle

Jeremiah 13-15

Chapter 13 starts off sounding like a set up for a joke but there is no pay-off.  Can anyone make something funny out of it?

God is going to cause Jerusalem to expose it's proverbial privates to expose it's naughtiness.

13:26 Therefore will I discover thy skirts upon thy face, that thy shame may appear.
13:27 I have seen thine adulteries, and thy neighings, the lewdness of thy whoredom, and thine abominations on the hills in the fields. Woe unto thee, O Jerusalem! wilt thou not be made clean? when shall it once be?

If the city's already being bad, why does he need to expose it?

God once again tells them that they are screwed no matter what.  He ain't listening.

14:12 When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.

God also tells a prophet that prophets are liars!  Except for Jeremiah of course.  That was probably mentioned in his ad in the local paper.
14:14 Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.
14:15 Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed.

I'm finding it interesting that the LORD is always threatening Israel with near utter destruction like in first part of chapter 15 but he never follows thru.  Unlike the bloodthirsty god of the first part of the OT, this god just talks shit he can't back up with action.  

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